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Americarna in Taranaki: February event expected to be the biggest yet

Director John Rae says this year’s Americana will take the scope of the event to new heights. Photo / Ricky Malcolm

“2023 will be by far the biggest event we’ve ever had.”

Event director John Rae says this year’s Americana celebrations will be the biggest ever, with more than 900 cars registered for the event.

“It’s a bit oppressive. Entry fees have not changed since July 2021. The costs have gone through the roof but luckily we were able to fund them with the number of additional registrations.”

The cars will travel the streets of Taranaki from February 22-25, making a number of city stops during that time. They will stop at Opunake on Wednesday, February 22, Waitara and Inglewood on Thursday, and Stratford and Hāwera on Friday.


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“The road crews work with us. We have to take a detour when leaving Hāwera which means there is no gravel or road works which is great. We are very grateful to the road crews for working with us and also recognizing the importance of this event.”

John says the cars will be parked longer in Stratford this year, arriving at 9:50 in the morning and departing for Hāwera at 12:45.

“It’s beneficial for Stratford and also for our participants as they have more time in the city. In the past, when the first car leaves, the last one arrives in Stratford, so it will be great for everyone to regroup to go to Hāwera.”

Both Stratford and Hāwera have fun activities planned for when the cars are in town.  Photo / Included
Both Stratford and Hāwera have fun activities planned for when the cars are in town. Photo / Included

A number of fun events are planned for the day in Stratford. Stratford Business Association chairman Mathew Dimock says they’re thrilled to have Americarna back in Stratford and organized a carnival not to be missed.


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“With over 900 classic American vehicles stopping in town, we wanted to put on a show and support our local businesses. Visitors can enjoy live entertainment, market stalls, a bouncy castle, food trucks, face painting and more. We also offer tours of the TET Kings Theatre, the local gin distillery has its cellar door open, the Fenton Street Arts Collective, the Percy Thomson Gallery is showing their latest exhibition and the Forgotten 43 Brewery has local beers flowing. We encourage everyone to stop by, check out the cars and support our local businesses and restaurants. We can hardly wait.”

Hāwera will also host a variety of events, featuring a mechanical bull, live entertainment by Andre for Sonic Delusion, and a fashion show.

South Taranaki Events Coordinator (STDC) Nikki Watson says there will be an excellent display of cars and fun activities too.

“We will have the mechanical bull, with the best time announced at 4.15am, a mrs and mr Americarna fashion show, best cowboy swag and best celebrity strut prizes. There will be stallholders across the city, and businesses will also be participating, with competitions for Best Americana Window Dress and Best Americana Dress Up.”

STDC Events Coordinator Emma Vennell says the fun times wouldn’t be possible without the support of volunteers.

“We would like to thank all the volunteers who help with the event. The Normanby and Ōpunake Lions help on the day, as do City Council staff. It’s going to be a big day.”

John says the event will boost the province.

“Right from a cold drink in a pub, ice cream in a dairy or accommodation, this brings a lot of people to our area which will help our business owners and give them a great and much needed cash injection.”

The details:

What: Americana


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When: 22.-25. February

Timetable: Wednesday 22 February: arrival Ōpunake 11.30 am. Thursday 23 February: Arrives Waitara 12:30pm, Arrives Inglewood 4:00pm. Friday 24 February: Arrive Stratford 9:50am, arrive Hāwera 1:30pm. Saturday 25 February: Americarnival 10am-3pm at New Plymouth CBD.

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